Breeders Cup

Road to the Breeders’ Cup 2015: Summer Outlook

HRS Breeders Cup CoverageFall racing will begin in 3-4 weeks which begins the Road to the Breeders Cup.  But before that happens, it is time to look at the contenders for the Breeders’ Cup races.  Each race is chock full of competition, with horses from across the country and across the world.  Some of the world’s best will converge on Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup.  Few meets in the world are considered championship meets: The Dubai World Cup, Royal Ascot, Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, British Champions Day, Japan Cup, the Hong Kong International Festival, and of course the Breeders’ Cup champion that list.  Each year, fans and handicappers try to figure out who will come out of each race and take the divisional crown, and this year is no different.  So, without further adieu, let’s kick of the Road to the Breeders’ Cup.

  • Classic:
    • Probably the most important division, the Classic division is lead by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as he goes for the Grand Slam of Racing.  The definitive early favorite gets to face off with some very tough company from the older division, including last year’s champion Bayern, who has been off form thus far, as well as hopefuls Lea, Constitution, and Hoppertunity.  Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red is gunning for this races, as well as last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist.  Of the other three year olds looking at the race, Keen Ice and Frosted have been right with American Pharoah in his last two races.  Hard Aces, Honor Code, and Noble Bird are Challenge Race winners, getting entry into this race.  American Pharoah looks to be the obvious winner, but will have the hardest test of his career in this field.
  • Dirt Mile
    • The past summer has looked like a Dirt Mile preview.  Mr. Z has been running in the summer Derby’s, winning the Ohio Derby and placing second in the Indiana Derby.  Gimme Da Lute took the Los Alamitos Derby as well as the Affirmed Stakes.  Catch A Flight has been racing in the top races at Del Mar and Santa Anita, placing 3rd in the Gold Cup and winning the San Diego Handicap.  Protonico, Bradester, and Pants On Fire have locked horns since last year and all three seem to be on pace for the Dirt Mile.  Honor Code could also go here with his Met Mile win, but looks like the Classic might be where he is headed.  For a race that usually draws a Grade 2 field, this could be a surprisingly great edition of the Dirt Mile.
  • Filly & Mare Sprint
    • Last year’s winner Judy the Beauty has yet to reach the winners circle this year, leaving this edition of the FM Sprint up for grabs.  NYRA filly wonder La Verdad looks to go to this race and make a name for herself outside of the New York stakes races.  Merry Meadow is the Challenge Winner, having won the Princess Rooney.  Stonetastic made a nice run for 2nd in the Shine Again at Saratoga.  Dame Dorothy and By the Moon are also looking for this race.  The FM Sprint division isn’t one of the more notable divisions, but many of the top speedsters from across the country are making the step out of their state to try to beat the best.
  • Filly & Mare Turf
    • What a field this could be.  Tepin, Coffee Clique, Discreet Marq, Euro Charline, Feathered, Filimbi, Hard Not to Like, Legatissimo, Sandiva, and Wedding Vow all meeting up, seems like every turf race for the ladies this year, a treat.  Tepin has been absolutely stunning winning the Distaff Turf Mile and the Just a Game before coming up just short in a record breaking Diana.  Euro Charline could make herself the favorite if she wins the Beverly D. at Arlington Park this Saturday.  A good crop of Euro horses look to come here, especially on a turf course that is much more fitting of the European style of course.
  • Juvenile Fillies
    • It is early to look at the 2yo races but two horses have left their mark so far.  A filly of Curlin out of Harve de Grace, Off The Tracks had an amazing maiden breaking score at Gulfstream Park before stunning the Schuylerville field at Saratoga.  Definitely one to watch.  On the other side of the states, Pretty N Cool won the Sorrento at Del Mar last weekend for Bob Baffert.  Another 2 for 2 filly.
  • Juvenile Fillies Turf
    • The other 2yo filly race, this one has an international feel.  Wesley Ward has a nice 2yo by the name of Acapulco, winner of the Queen Mary during Royal Ascot.  Should be heading to Keeneland for the fall before staying there for the Breeders’ Cup.  Richard Hannon could be sending Illuminate to Keeneland, a winner of the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge from Newmarket.  Sharp filly.
  • Juvenile Turf
    • The 2yo boys on the turf also keeps the international feel.  Aidan O’Brien has Air Force Blue leading his 2yos into this race, winner of the Keeneland Phoenix from The Curragh.  The runner up in that race also is an O’Brien, Washington Dc, winner of the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot. He also trained another Royal Ascot 2yo winner in Waterloo Bridge, winner of the Norfolk Stakes.  If he sends any of these 2yos, they will be a force to reckon with and Aidan can return to the Breeders Cup winners circle.
  • Distaff
    • The fillies get the spotlight in the Distaff, a matchup between Beholder and Untapable takes shape once again, winners of the last two Breeders’ Cup Distaffs.  The 3yo fillies haven’t been the talk of the town this year and just seem to be a cut below the older fillies, although Curalina and I’m a Chatterbox would love to change that.
  • Turf
    • Every year there is one race that I always look forward to, the Breeders’ Cup Turf.  Last year saw Main Sequence beat Arc runner up Flintshire down the stretch.  This year, many horses that should be running in the Arc are aiming for Keeneland, including Flintshire, Telescope, Eagle Top, and The Grey Gatsby.  The second highest ranking horse in the world according to Longines, Golden Horn, is also aimed at the race.  Winner of the Manhattan, Slumber, leads the charge for Chad Brown.  Stablemate Big Blue Kitten won the United Nations thanks to Slumber’s help and looks to loom large here.  If the Euro invaders do end up going here, this could be a great international battle.
  • Mile
    • One of the most wide open races brings horses from across the world gearing to go 8 furlongs.  While the Breeders’ Cup does not have Solow aiming here, I can’t see why this horse won’t be.  Solow has been so impressive this year at the mile distance and is right up there as one of the top horses in the world.  Gleneagles, 2000 Guineas winner, is aiming for his US debut, and last year’s winner Karakontie seems to be trying to make it 2 straight.  If Wise Dan gets back to the races, look for him here.  Mshawish could be on the mile track if he gets a win in the Fourstardave on Saturday.  And that isn’t even half of the competitors.  I’ll leave this race be for now and do a much more in depth look at the Mile around mid-September.
  • Juvenile
    • Of all of the divisions for the 2yos, this might be the most established.  On top of my 2yo rankings still sits Cocked and Loaded, who just didn’t like the Saratoga track (doesn’t make him a bad horse… look at Tonalist, he hates Saratoga).  Uncle Vinny, Swipe, and Magna Light lead the 2yos as the summer winds down.  Blameitonthelaw was highly impressive in his maiden debut at Del Mar, which could very well be one of the best maiden races in 2015.
  • Turf Sprint
    • One of the few races that I don’t usually care about during Breeders’ Cup weekend, the Turf Sprint is building a pretty good field, with Undrafted, Tightend Touchdown, and Home Run Kitten leading the field.  Leigh Court and Lady Shipman are also nice runners.  But with most of the good turf horses aiming at the Mile and the Turf, I don’t expect a strong field.
  • Sprint
    • The final race to look at is the Sprint.  Last year’s winner Work All Week has had two straight runner up finishes this year, in the Smile Sprint and the Aristides, before winning a sprint stakes at Mountaineer.  The Sprint division proves that you don’t need to be a G1 horse to win, with Work All Week only having won previous Graded races start.  Secret Circle is finally coming back into form, winning the Golden Shaheen at Meydan this spring.  Masochistic has been very strong in the sprint division from California and Private Zone can’t be forgotten.  Rock Fall joins this field after his win at the Spa.  For some reason, Tepin is leaning towards running here, but expect her for the Filly and Mare Turf.  And if The Big Beast can stay somewhat calm, this coiled spring could be on to the Keeneland winners circle.

This edition of the Breeders’ Cup is just heating up and stay tuned to Horse Racing Station for the Road to the Breeders’ Cup.  See you in September when I look at all of the dirt races in more depth.


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